Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Fibromyalgia, cannabis and mental health, and the ongoing Johnson & Johnson case are your headlines for October 2019.
J&J Received Grand Jury Subpoenas from Eastern District of New York
Johnson & Johnson, already embroiled in a legal mess which recently concluded in Oklahoma regarding its marketing of opioid painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta, confirmed that it received grand jury subpoenas from the Eastern District of New York in a regulatory filing, Reuters reports. The subpoenas are apparently related to J&J’s anti-diversion policies and distribution methods for opioids produced by its Janssen Pharmaceuticals sector.
Read more here.
Little Evidence Cannabis Aids Mental Health Disorders
A new meta-analysis published in The Lancet Psychiatry found little to no evidence that cannabis can help relieve the symptoms of common mental health disorders, although it did show some benefit for anxiety. Louisa Degenhardt, PhD, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and her colleagues assessed 83 studies on both CBD and THC to reach the conclusion that depression, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, PTSD, and psychosis saw no significant symptom improvement when cannabis is introduced. However, seven studies which the team described as “low quality” showed some significant improvement in anxiety symptoms with the use of THC.
Read more from MedPage Today here.
Reuters: Five Big Pharma Companies Willing to Settle for $50 Billion in Ohio Case
Several major news outlets are reporting that five companies set to go to trial in Ohio for their role in the opioid crisis are willing to settle the claims for $50 billion. The deal is described as $22 billion in cash and $28 billion in “drugs and services.” The pharmaceutical companies are Teva Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson, while distributors McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Cardinal Health are also in on the deal. The companies would pay varying amounts of cash, while Teva has offered drugs valued at $15 billion initially, plus a 10 year deal to reach $28 billion. All of the companies are defendants in the closely-watched trial against opioid makers and distributors consolidated in Ohio under Judge Polster.
Read more here.
Microbiome Tied to Fibromyalgia Symptoms
A recent study published in Pain found that people with fibromyalgia have an abundance or certain species of gut bacteria, perhaps indicating a link between physical pain and the microbiome. The study followed 77 women with fibromyalgia and 79 healthy controls, with each group condition verified by a pain medicine specialist. The researchers used a series of algorithms to assess the subjects’ microbiome and control for factors like diet, medication, and exercise. The study noted that “variance in the composition of the microbiomes was explained by fibromyalgia-related variables more than by any other innate or environmental variable.”
Read more from Pain Medicine News here.
Hospitals Joining Legal Melee Against Opioid Manufacturers
Hospital systems have banded together in West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Kentucky and Mississippi to sue opioid manufacturers for the cost of treating uninsured patients amidst the ongoing national opioid crisis. This action is outside of the consolidated case in Ohio, which involves primarily states and municipalities. The hospital groups claim that opioid overdoses and the treatment of complicated addicted patients such as those with hepatitis C or myocarditis stemming from IV drug use are straining their resources and make them victims of opioid manufacturers’ deceptive marketing.
Read more from Kaiser Health News/NPR here.
Chiropractic Care May Reduce Odds of Opioid Use in Back and Neck Pain
A recent study published in Pain Medicine found that patients that seek chiropractic care for back and neck pain use opioids at a lower rate than those who forgo the treatment. Researchers assessed six small studies to reach their analysis, ultimately using data from 62,000 patients. The patients who saw a chiropractor were 64 percent less likely to use opioids.
Read more from Reuters here.
Quest Diagnostics: Physicians Fear New Prescription Drug Crisis
The latest Health Trends report from Quest Diagnostics found that “most primary care physicians (62 percent) fear the opioid drug crisis will be traded for a new prescription drug crisis and nearly three quarters (72 percent) worry that chronic pain patients will turn to illicit drugs if they do not have access to prescription opioids.” An additional 70 percent of PCPs wish they had more training in opioid tapering. Further, more physicians (78 percent) are prescribing gabapentin (not a controlled substance) instead of opioids, even as misuse of gabapentin increases.
Read more here.
Image Credit: News Medical